From the iconic themes of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park to the suspenseful motifs of Jaws and the heartwarming melodies of Home Alone, John Williams has created a vast and diverse repertoire that has resonated with audiences around the world. The University of Memphis Wind Ensemble’s exploration of the musical world of John Williams is a fantastic event for fans of film music and orchestral performances.
Chris McCoy, The Memphis Flyer’s Film/ TV Editor, will expertly guide the audience through the iconic films and their sweeping melodies, dynamic orchestrations, and sheer energy that Williams’ music evokes. It’s an excellent chance to relive your favorite cinematic moments through live performance and appreciate the craftsmanship and impact of John Williams’ contributions to movie music.
Dr. Albert Nguyen, the conductor of the Wind Ensemble, is incredibly excited about this performance.
“John Williams is the access point to classical music to many people. His music is what I conducted as a kid. I had an album with many of these scores: Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Hook and I would conduct an imaginary orchestra in my bedroom. I’ve never conducted a completely nostalgic concert where everything feels play-like.”
Even though the scores are whimsical, the ensemble’s talent is at an ever-rising caliber. The transcriptions of these scores are top-notch and extremely challenging. This performance will give the Wind Ensemble a chance to showcase the immense talent and steadfast dedication within each musician.
Movie scores include:
- “Flight to Neverland” – Hook
- “Theme” – Schindler’s List
- “Midway March” – Midway
- “Jedi Steps” and “Finale” Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- “Harry’s Wondrous World” – Harry Potter: Sorcerer’s Stone
- “March” – 1941
The concert features guest artists Marcin Arendt, Bill Shaltis, Michael Shults and Kaleb Ritchie.
Unique to the evening is Dr. Marcin Arendt playing the theme from Schindler’s List on a family heirloom violin that belonged to his grand uncle, who was given the instrument while he was a prisoner in Dachau and Gusen concentration camps.
“I received it from my grand uncle’s family when I was around 12 since they knew I played the violin. My grand uncle, Antoni Goscinski, was given the violin while a prisoner in Dachau and Gusen concentration camps. It’s unknown how he got it, but the story that later came out about the violin was that even though he was a prisoner, they used him for his medical knowledge. It was gifted to him after he had apparently saved the camp warden’s daughter’s life. I played on it from around 12 to I think my mid-twenties. I eventually had to switch to another instrument because while it is close to full, it is on the smaller size which made it harder for me to play on regularly, but it has a deep soulful sound, and I keep it in working condition and play on it periodically for concerts like this. ”
Whether you’re a fan of John Williams, a lover of film scores, or simply enjoy live orchestral performances, this exploration of his musical world by the University of Memphis Wind Ensemble promises to be an enchanting and memorable event.
Tickets are available for $20 online at memphis.edu/music or visit the Scheidt Center Box Office, 3800 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday, 10 AM to 2 PM, or 1.5 hours prior to the performance.